1 At first blush, the notion of often cantankerous Americana ace Ryan Adams interpreting Taylor Swift's blockbuster "1989" album sounds like a cheeky joke. But it turns out that it's not only effective but one of Adams' best studio efforts in recent years. His stripped-down, often hushed approach puts the spotlight on the sadness of the words and melodies, whereas Swift emphasized the glossy radio-friendly production. He'll make you rethink "Shake It Off," "Blank Space" and even Ryan Adams.
2 Lisbeth Salander ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo") is back. The late Stieg Larsson's estate authorized Swedish journalist and author David Lagercrantz to write a fourth book in the series, "The Girl in the Spider's Web." It's as good as the originals. A few years have passed since Salander and Mikael Blomkvist confronted her criminal-spy father. He's dead, but his illegal network lives on. Blomkvist's magazine, Millennium, is losing money in the social media era. But Salander is still at her computer, digging and exposing treachery in a thrilling sequel that brings the two unforgettable characters back together.
3 The drug-war epic "Sicario" is the latest step in director Denis Villeneuve's dramatic ascent. It echoes themes from "Apocalypse Now" and "Full Metal Jacket," weaving them into a heart-pounding meditation on the madness of war. This is a report from the front line of a dirty battle, a kinetic tapestry of brutality and lost morals and corrupting power. As FBI agent Kate Macer, Emily Blunt nails the most challenging character of her career.
5 Borough, Vincent and Butcher & the Boar vet Joe Rolle is now at the helm of Il Foro, housed in the art deco landmark in Minneapolis City Center formerly known as the Forum. Rolle has a knack for improving on cherished, taken-for-granted favorites: a prodigiously juicy meatball (pictured); revelatory porchetta. A refined rabbit cacciatore arrives on a bed of ultra-creamy polenta that's dressed with an egg yolk and a punchy olive relish. Hello, signature dish. (36 S. 7th St., Mpls.)
4 Reality and memory vividly coexist in Quiara Alegría Hudes' poetic one-act "Elliot, a Soldier's Fugue" at St. Paul's Park Square Theatre. "Elliot" looks at the effects of battle on a patriotic Puerto Rican family that has served in the U.S. military for three generations. Director Robert Rosen animates the drama, showing that the tension is not between the characters, but within them. parksquaretheatre.org